The Getaway (1972) – 4/5

Decent action crime type film with a lot more violence and nudity/sex than I’ve ever seen in a PG film before, but this was made in the 70s and I guess people just didn’t give as much of a damn about these kinds of things back then. It was truly a golden age. Anyway, the movie is tough and rugged and manly, with Steve McQueen shooting people and blowing stuff up while doing his best to show as little emotion as possible in the face of certain injury/death. And what can I say? It works. The man looks really cool carrying a shotgun.

The plot is pretty good, and deep despite its seeming simplicity. It’s just a chase movie in a way, but the relationship between McQueen and Ali MacGraw, who is pretty good here despite her stilted delivery at times, is what keeps it all together. There’s also a bizarre, sadistic subplot involving **SPOILERS** one of the other surviving robbers and his kidnapping of a doctor and his wife, whom he holds hostage and forces to help hunt down McQueen with him. **END SPOILERS** What ends up happening between the three of them, though, is just sad and kind of disturbing, especially for the doctor. It was great, don’t get me wrong, but very, very dark for a film I had expected to be a pretty standard heist crime movie. And the action scenes are pretty great too, especially once things start to kick into gear near the end. And brutal, man.

Overall, I really enjoyed this film. It’s not quite what you think it will be going in; nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary, but much deeper, darker, and meaner than you’d expect. Much like Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, there’s a certain brutality to the violence here that makes it somewhat unpleasant to watch at times, though not nearly to the same extent. There’s also the same subtle  misogyny here as there was in “Wild,” both from MacGraw’s character’s **SPOILERS** questionable allegiance, **END SPOILERS** and what ends up happening with the **SPOILERS** doctor’s wife. **END SPOILERS** Heck, there’s even a scene of McQueen just **SPOILERS** smacking MacGraw around for a good minute or so before coming to his senses. **END SPOILERS** Don’t think I’ve ever seen the hero of an action film do that before. It’s clear Peckinpah didn’t think very much of women, or at the very least had some grudge against them. Who knows.

Anyway, good, dark crime film. Recommended.

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